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Pin Flagged messages at the top of my email list

I sometimes use the “Follow Up” command in Outlook to flag my messages that I need to get back to later.

Is there any way to keep these flagged messages pinned at the top of my email list?

Pin Message buttonUnfortunately Outlook doesn’t have a direct feature for this (yet?). However, it is a much requested feature and since (the old) Outlook.com offers support for it as well as the new Outlook.com and Office 365 Exchange Online, I can only assume that the “Pinning” feature will come to Outlook as well and also syncs this Pin status when using such an account for a consistent experience.

For now, we’ll have to make due with the Follow Up command and adjust the View settings in Outlook to make sure that the Flagged messages stay at the top.

However, the results won’t be perfect until the feature is actually added to Outlook. You may get the best results by using the combination of a Search Folder with a Custom View.

Group by Flag Status

Group by Flag Status buttonBy default, Outlook Groups your emails by Date. When you Group or Sort your emails by the “Due Date”, “Flag Status”, “Follow Up Flag”, “Reminder” or “Start Date” column in a descending order instead, your Flagged messages will be shown and remain at the top.

The exact results are slightly different depending on which column you select to Group or Sort by so you may want to experiment with it a bit.

  1. Open the View Settings dialog.
    • Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007
      View-> Arrange By-> Custom…
    • Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
      tab: View-> button: View Settings
  2. Button: Group By…
    • You can also use the Sort… button if you don’t like the Group By feature for your messages.
  3. Disable the option: Automatically group according to arrangement.
  4. Select one of the mentioned fields above. For instance: Flag Status.
    • If you don’t see the field that you want to add, set the “Select available field from” list in the bottom right to: All Mail fields.
  5. Set the sorting order to: Descending.
  6. Press OK until you’re returned to your message list.

Hide messages with Flag Completed

Custom View buttonIf you mark messages as Completed instead of removing their flag, then they will still show up at the top as well. To solve this, you basically have 2 options;

  • Remove the flag for those messages.
  • Hide messages that are marked “Completed”.

You may not be keen on doing the first if you want to keep track of when you completed a message. The second option also isn’t ideal when you want keep seeing all your emails. An alternative would be to use a Search Folder as described in the section further below.

To hide messages that are marked as “Completed”, you’ll need to create a Filter for your Custom view.

  1. Open the View Settings dialog.
    • Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007
      View-> Arrange By-> Custom…
    • Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
      tab: View-> button: View
      Settings
  2. Button: Filter…
  3. tab: Advanced
  4. Set the following criteria;
    • Field: Flag Completed Date
    • Condition: Does not exist
    • Value: Empty
  5. Press OK until you’re returned to your message list.

Search Folder for Unread and Flagged messages only

The aforementioned limitation can also be overcome when you create a Search Folder which only contains items that you still need to take care off, like messages that are Unread or marked for Follow Up that haven’t been completed yet.

Detailed steps to create such a Search Folder can be found here;
Creating a Search Folder for actionable items

After you’ve created the Search Folder, you can adjust the View for that folder so that Flagged messages are shown first and any (new) Unread messages after that.

You can then add this Search Folder to your Favorites list so it is easier to access and keep an eye on it, or you can even set it as your default startup folder via;

  • Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007
    Tools-> Options…-> tab Other-> button Advanced Options…
  • Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
    File-> Options-> Advanced

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